There are a number of methods that parents can and should do to stave off potential negative consequences of social media. Listed below are 6 ways in which Social Media can be made more enjoyable for intimate family time, without having to risk straining ties.
1. Learn more about social media. To the children, if your parents are not social media savvy, teach them to be! To the parents, your children are digital natives, while you are digital immigrants. You could learn more by asking your children about it, or by taking a class.
2. Except in extreme circumstances, try to find a way to allow your child to participate in social media. If they say they'll be left out socially if you restrict their access altogether, they're probably right.
3. Join your child's social networks and "friend" them. While it may increase parent-child conflict, you need to know the substance of what your child is saying and doing on these sites and confront them about inappropriate behavior and posts, either from them or their friends.
4. Model good behavior. If you are checking your BlackBerry or iPhone at the dinner table, in the cinema before a movie starts, or on family vacations, how can you expect your children to unplug? Make time for family time. Develop a regular and consistent activity schedule which includes spending time together as a family, minus the technology
5. Talk with your child about what is and isn't appropriate to post online. There is definitely such a thing as "oversharing"! Just because their friends are posting certain photos or information doesn't mean it's a good idea.
6. Discuss content viewed online (and this goes for TV, video games, movies, music videos, etc.). Does it agree with your values? Is it accurate and/or realistic? How do you think it may affect the behavior and emotions of people who see it?
"Children’s lives are full of boundaries. Their “digital life” should be no different."
- Tommy Jordan